A great find! We really loved this place. Views to die for, wonderful beaches close by and a beautiful village for morning coffee and croissants. I will be back here for sure! Free transfer to the aiport too. Trogir is a stunning place too! Try it, you will not regret it!
With low-cost flights going to Zadar, just a short taxi ride from Pakostane, this has to be one of the cheapest all-inclusive resorts in Europe. Pine Beach resort has everything an ordinary all-inclusive has, but the prices are amazingly low because the accommodation comprises Polynesian-style thatched beach hut villas. True, there's no electricity inside these simple huts, but they are quirky and refreshingly close to nature. Individual huts are scattered throughout the resort's pine forest leading down to one of the best beaches in the area, 1km long. Activities like sailing and kayaking are all free and the food is good, served under the pine trees. Every villa is simply furnished with toilet facilities no more than 30 metres away, and all overlook the sea. Perfect as you can enjoy all the benefits of all-inclusive without selling your soul.
Pakoštane d.d., Brune Bušića 45, 23211, HR - Pakoštane
+385 (0)23 250 961
Lumbarda is a large holiday village, located on the south eastern tip of the island of Korcula. This does not sound like something special, but boy did we have good time there! Not in bars, discos and clubs, but in local family farms where we tasted fantastic local grown food and wine. I can recommend agrotourism Lovrić (big up for Mr. Renci - thank you for everything!), and also the beautiful beaches in the vicinity and unspoiled nature. If you ask me, this is the best family vacation we ever had!
Peljesac is the famous Croatian wine region. There you can find the best Croatian red wines made out of the Plavac Mali variety of grape. There is even more to it. Mike Grgich from Grgich Hills in Napa Valley, California was born on Peljesac, and when he came to California he saw the Zinfandel variety there, and was sure it was Plavac Mali, which he has grown since being a child, with his parents. He used his knowledge to make the best Chardonnay in the world. Later, it was genetically proven that Plavac Mali is a parent of Zinfandel. So Mike Grgich emigrated from Croatia with a diploma, and all across the Atlantic ocean he found what he left in his homeland, and made the world's best wine out of it. What a story! I have visited Grgich vinery on Peljesac this summer, near the village of Trstenik.
This is a great healthy little store. They sell wonderful vegan foods like smoked tofu, soy yogurt, vegan pate, nut butters and other items. We also bought some delicious wine from them. The staff speak English and were very helpful. I highly recommend this store for vegans, vegetarians, healthy eaters and/or wine drinkers. Enjoy!
Kroz Burak 27, 21450 Hvar
A short water taxi from Hvar Town takes you to the beautiful islet of Marinkovac, the highlight of which is not the amazing, sheltered bay in the southern corner, but rather the small, blink-and-you'll miss it bar by the taxi pontoon.
Having missed our boat we had to console ourselves with a glass of their own wine and were invited by the owner to take a walk around the vineyard from which the grapes came. Truly locally sourced.
The owners are wonderfully enthusiastic and knowledgeable about wines, and it was a pleasure to settle in and miss a few more boats while we chatted with them.
Take the water taxi from Havr Town to Marinkovac, the bar is right next to the pontoon.
Google map: bit.ly/LuIS1k
We had a superb two-week holiday with two teenage children. We flew to Zagreb and picked up a hire car. Drove to Pula, Beli on Cres (heaven, do walk to the lost villages), Rab, Zadar and finally dropped the car off at Split. We then took ferries to Korcula and on to Dubrovnik to fly home. Get to Krka National Park very early for the magic - it felt like Alton Towers on a bank holiday when we left at 11.30am. We recommend booking hostels - we stayed in them in Pula, Rab, Zadar and Split. Basic but really clean, friendly, central and cheap. Particularly liked the Old Town hostel in Zadar. You can spend hours jumping off the harbour wall listening to the sea organ and then return in the evening to the sun salutation to enjoy the Saturday Night Fever light display.
The medieval city of Trogir is a “must-see” location on the Croatian coast. It’s well worth its designation as a UNESCO world heritage site but it swarms with visitors in the summer and you’ll be rubbing shoulders with the rich and powerful who park their yachts along the waterfront. So, don’t stay in Trogir itself, nor on Ciovo Island – the causeway is a reduced to a traffic jam in the summer months. Instead, locate yourself a little way down the coast at Seget Donjii and use the regular and reliable ferry service provided by Felip’s Marina. If you become a regular user they might even let you take hold of the tiller as you head along the coast, and they provide day trips to neighbouring islands like Solta, with a fish lunch cooked in the open air, and further afield to Split.
Trogir is 10km from Split airport and Split is about 40km along the coast. It's only a few kilometres to the quiet village of Seget Donjii.
Google map: bit.ly/PFdKtO
We have just spent a month in Croatia travelling by bus from Istria down the coast to Dubrovnik, taking ferries to Korcula and Mljet on-route. Our stay at Zadar was a gem, full of Croatian character but not full of tourists. Accommodation can be found in private houses in area around the bus station - look for the blue 'apartman' signs, or book in advance using hostelworld.com. In the old town: enjoy the view from bell tower of Anastasia's cathedral, feast on a gelato and walk along the esplanade to the large 'disk of light' solar panel, listen to the sea organ, visit St Donat's church built on a roman site, appreciate the art museum. Eat at Pet Bunara restaurant (close to the city gate).
I recommend taking a flight to Dubrovnik and flying home from Split. The reason is that going in that direction you will be able to book your island hopping ferries in advance and avoid getting up at five or six am (to queue for tickets) on the day if you travel in the opposite direction. We visited Korcula where we stayed with the redoutable Priam in Karbouni,who made us feel part of their family summer, the canoes were free and the sea clear and enticing. We also went to Mljet which was more touristy but stunning. Trogir was used to film Dr Who and is small enough to get to know in three days, Split is an extraordinary a old town built in a Roman Palace. We could do the whole thing again with a completely different list of islands.
One more thing: the ice cream parlours were to die for and there was an ice cream "barista" in Dubrovnik who juggled the scoops as he served them. We took the kids with small backpacks each and they thrived on it.
Ferries to Korcula from Dubrovnik come in to Korcula Town and some Split ferries leave from Vela Luca a bus ride down to the other end of the island. Try starting with www.croatiaferries.com/ and itinerise!
Easily accessible from Dubrovnik, but a world away from it, Kolocep Villas is a fantastic hotel on a brilliantly peaceful and relaxing island that you can walk across in an hour or kayak the whole way around in an afternoon. Blue seas, secluded coves, amazing fish restaurants, friendly and efficient staff at the hotel, and four ferries a day into Dubrovnik for only a few euros, it's the absolute perfect place to unwind!
The last time we were in Brsec we were lost and it was going to take a similar lack of navigation skills to get us back there this time.
So we headed optimistically more or less south-east across the Istrian peninsula hoping for signs for Hrastovlie, Pozane, Buzet, Vranja and make Brsec in time to check into the B&B and head for the only restaurant/bar in the village and chilled pints of the local Favorit beer. They don’t get many English/British visitors and in the absence of us having any Croatian language skills German is the common tongue. “Do you have any vegetarian dishes”? “Yes, we have chicken and fish, where have you come from”? It is now that we learn that Buzet is pronounced Tzb, Pozane, Nzp and Vranja, Jnrv. Just take out all the vowels and pronounce it backwards - you get the picture.
Brsec and this stretch of the coast are truly beautiful. The sky is blue and cloudless and there’s a path leading from our B&B down through wild asparagus and sage scattered woods to a secluded cove where the Adriatic Sea is aqua-marine and crystal clear and that’s where we spend the majority of our weekend. Mostly we have the beach to ourselves but at some point the cove fills with a family of seals, their black heads bobbing in the sea as they dive and play. On closer inspection the seals turn out to be a scuba diving club. One of the islands nearby is the home of a flock of Griffon vultures and squadrons of long-necked jet black swan/goose-like birds zoom across the surface of the water.
We venture as far as Labin for gnocci and gorgonzola sauce and walk along the promenade from Lovran to Opatije for ice cream and pizza and that’s as much effort as we want to make.
B&B: +385 51 290 159
Google map: bit.ly/Mc3msD
Escape the cruise ship hordes in Korcula Town and the sunworshippers on Orebic beach by heading out to peaceful Stupe Island. This tiny outcrop in the Adriatic Sea (you can walk right round it in 20 minutes) has a small beach, superb snorkelling, rocks to dive off and a family-run shack, or Kornoba, serving freshly-caught grilled fish. The kitchen is built right into the rock and wooden tables overlook the dock beneath a shade of reeds. You can reach the island by water taxi from Korcula or, as we did, towed behind a speedboat on an inflatable banana! Just don't forget to ask to be picked up again after sunset.
Otok Stupe, Korcula Archipelago, Croatia
For table booking call mobile: +385 (0)98 933 76 11
Google map: bit.ly/MAco1h
Cavtat is a beautiful and peaceful port village across the bay from historic if a bit overcrowded Dubrovnik. In fact, the best way to enjoy medieval Dubrovnik is to stay in much cheaper and much more relaxing Cavtat. Everything is cheaper, yet it is the same excellent food, the same excellent wine, and the same friendly Croatians. Eat grilled squid, drink Plavac wine (a spicy dark red), have an Istra Bitter aperitivo (like Campari, only better), and stay at the spacious Hotel Croatia on the hill overlooking the village. I've been to many places, but Cavtat is close to paradise.
This pine covered island is totally undeveloped. The catamaran from Dubrovnik drops you at the tiny town of Polace which has remains of a Roman palace. Here you can hire a bicycle to explore the quiet roads and reach the lake with an islet that is home to a 12th century Benedictine monastery. This is now a restaurant and served by a little boat so that you can treat yourself to a seafood lunch. Swimming in the clear blue lake is a great way to cool down.
This small town just outside of Pula is an absolute gem - full of medieval winding streets, beautiful churches and stunning architecture. It also contains the fascinating church of St Blaise (home to six mummified saints), and the best restaurant in the whole of Istria (so we thought anyway!) The restaurant is called Vodnjanka and is definitely worth sourcing out for an authentic Istrian meal in a friendly place, full of locals, and with excellent service.
Vodnjanka: Istarska b.b., 52215, Vodnjan
+385 52 511 435
Mljet is an island off the Dubrovnik coast. Stay in Sobra, the village that tourists normally sail past. You'll have a private 'beach' and Nikola runs a first class bar/ restaurant serving Croatian food and Italian pizzas. From Sobra catch a ferry or hire a Dalmation styled Fiat 500 (seriously) and head to the National Park on the other side of Mljet. Once there rent bicycles and explore the beautiful, wild and lush forest. The highlight being the large salt water lake which cocoons a Benedictine Monastery. You can take the hourly boat over to it or swim across yourself.
Sobra 2, Babino Polje
(+385-20) 74 52 22
++385 (0)20 745-222
There are many little bays and coves in the nature reserve of Lower Kamenjak but Lampajina is probably the most stunning of its beaches. You'll find laminated white rocks offering natural sun lounging by the emerald waters of the Adriatic Sea, and a spot where locals cliff dive from a height of about 10 metres. The nearby Safari Bar is a classic, with its “Lord of the Flies” kind of atmosphere - the food in general might not be great but the calamari sandwich is worth the wait. It's also a good place to hide from the throbbing heat.
Bisevo is only five nautical miles and is located southwest of Komiza on Vis Island. The Blue Cave is perhaps the most beautiful of the 10 caves stretched along the island. Visit the cave in the sun and see it illuminated by a luminous blue light while objects beneath the surface shimmer in silver and pink. The best experience here is that it is not a crowded tourist attraction, even in the summer.
The easiest and cheapest way to get to Bisevo and the Blue Cave is to take one of the excursion boats that runs daily from Komiza in the summer. There are also agencies that run fast boat excursions from other islands.
For a more private experience, hire a boat in Komiza and motor out yourself. Afterwards you can boat around the tiny island and stop to bathe in hidden coves. Take a fishing rod because the waters are teeming with fish. There is a small harbour on Bisevo with a pier for fishing boats. On the island, you'll see ruins of the Benedictine monastery of St Sylvester, founded in the 11th century and the remains of a church. There's no accommodation on Bisevo.
Vis Tourist Board:
Setalište stare Isse 5, 21480 Vis
+385 (0)21 717 017
Google map: bit.ly/MAij6B
Hvar town offers visitors the perfect mix of island relaxation, great food and cosmopolitan nightlife. Spend the days basking in the sun on the shores of the turquoise Adriatic, or wander through the fragrant lavender fields the island is famous for. Enjoy fresh fish sat outside in the town square then visit the fairy-lit harbour, sip cocktails and watch the jet set arrive on their mega yachts.
Google map: bit.ly/KCtLBz
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